Author Archives: hcru


Hello HCRU Subscribers!

We thought you may be interested in a recent article about Rutgers Professor and HCRU Faculty Adviser Dr Julien Musolino.  The article, titled Students in Rutgers Psychology Class Probe Religious Mind and published on the Rutgers SAS website, explores the unique content and approach to the study of religion that the course offers.

The course explores religion from a scientific perspective, covering domains ranging from neuroscience to American culture, and even human nature more broadly.  Over the semester, the 200 students registered for Dr. Musolino’s “Religious Mind” ask: Why do we believe in Gods?  And further, distrust atheists?  Do human beings have souls, and is there an afterlife? And does religion make us moral?  Throughout the course, students are encouraged to answer these and many others questions by sifting through the empirical research we have to date.

As one sophomore Uri Veit explained, “I’d never come across a college class that analyzes religion from an empirical scientific perspective… I spent most of my life around religion and I want to understand those beliefs from the psychological perspective.”

If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact the Humanist Community at Rutgers.  You can also read Dr. Musolino’s book The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain by Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs, which is read during the course, in the link provided.

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“The Truth About Mindfulness: Conversations in Secular Spirituality” with Robert Wright – March 3rd

Mindfulness meditation has become popular in the west as an essentially therapeutic technique that promises to reduce stress and increase happiness. But the Buddhist philosophy that was the ancient context of mindfulness meditation makes bolder promises: It sees meditation as an important part of a larger program that strips away delusions about the world and can even bring “enlightenment”.

This claim – that mindfulness meditation brings a truer vision of the world – suggests that any happiness it fosters might be a “valid” happiness in the sense of being based on accurate perceptions of the world. Modern psychology – particularly evolutionary psychology – offers some support for that view. 

Friday, March 3, 6:30 PM
Douglass Student Center, Meeting Room C (2nd floor)
100 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Please RSVP on Our Facebook Event Page


Image result for robert wrightROBERT WRIGHT is the author, most recently, of The Evolution of God, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His other books include The Moral Animal, which The New York Times Book Review named one of the ten best books of 1994, and Nonzero, which Bill Clinton called “astonishing” and instructed White House staff members to read. In 2009 Wright was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 global thinkers. Wright has written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and his awards include the National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism. Wright has taught in the religion department at Princeton and the psychology department at Penn.

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Do we have a Soul?  Christianity and many other religions claim we do – but of course you have to have faith.   But do we really?

Rutgers Professor of Psychology Julien Musolino, a member of the Humanist Community’s Faculty Board of Advisers, argues in his new book The Soul Fallacy that science can investigate the question of whether or not we have a soul, as defined by these popular religions.  Further, he argues that the verdict comes back with a resounding “No, we do not have a soul.”  Pressing the issue even more, this actually turns out to be a good thing!

For more, check out this interview with Prof. Musolino on his book by Rutgers undergraduate and Applied Sentience staff writer Leo Kozachkov.

Musolino - Soul Fallacy Book Event

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The Humanist Community at Rutgers University newsletter will be starting a new monthly digest of articles published by Rutgers students and alumni on Applied Sentience – a new national platform for the next-generation of Humanist thinkers.


The Fiction Fallacy: Part 1, The Problem” by Alex Ioakimidis

Check out Alex’s first article as one of AS’s newest Staff Writers!  Alex, a Rutgers undergraduate, explores the use of “What If?” questions in fiction and wonder whether they can be of any real, substantive use in developing answers.

Of Hidden Gods: Sometimes Absence of Evidence IS Evidence of Absence” by Paul Chiariello

Have you ever talked with a theist who admits there aren’t any good argument or evidence for God, but still states that this doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist?  AS Managing Editor and HCRU Director Paul Chiariello argues that, while this maxim is usually true, there are exception and evidence for God is one of them.

Reason vs Religion at Rutgers: Julien Musolino Debates Mark Baker” by Leo Kozachkov

Leo, a Rutgers undergrad and frequent writer for Applied Sentience, reviews the recent Veritas Forum event at Rutgers in which HCRU’s very own Faculty Adviser and author of the recent book The Soul Fallacy debates linguist Mark Baker on their “perspectives on Science and Faith.”

Why We’re Here: Exploring the Causes of Hong Kong’s Protests” by Denzel Zhu

The recent Pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong marked an important moment in the history and future of the city state.  But as things usually are, the issues at the core of the protest are complex.  n this article Denzel, a Rutgers Sophomore, clears up some of this complexity in his thorough analysis.


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Unfortunately, regular office hours with Humanist Chaplain Barry Klassel at the RISN House have been canceled for the remainder of the Spring semester.

However!  If you would like to schedule a time to explore what Humanism is, talk about problems or stress you’ve having, what to get more involved with the Rutgers Humanist Community, or anything else then don’t hesitate to send us an email.

You can schedule a meeting with Barry by emailing him at

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Students, alumni, and friends in the New Jersey area!

Make sure not to miss Susan Jacoby, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Age of American Unreason and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, who will be speaking with The Red Bank Humanists on January 11th.

The title of Jacoby’s talk is “The Secular Conscience.”   Further details concerning time and location are in the flier below! (more…)

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Office hours this week have been canceled.

Barry will be busy planning an exciting event with Rutgers administration and the American Humanist Association, tentatively titled ‘The Future Common Ground Conference’.    More details in the soon.  Stay tuned!

Barry will still be available to talk online or set up a appointment.  Just send him an email at <>

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Alexander Ioakimidis, a Rutgers University undergraduate and double major in Astrophysics and Philosophy, has just joined Applied Sentience‘s ranks as their newest staff writer!

Applied Sentience is a “Next Generation Humanist Thinkblog.”  You can check out a list and bios of their Staff Writers, including Alex, from all over the country in the link.

You can also check out the writer’s archives for AS’s two other current Rutgers staff writers Heather Yaden and Leo Kozachkov.  Former AS staff writers from Rutgers include Paul Jones, James Carroll, Harold A. Mesa, and Emma Leigh.

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